Unconquerable Nation: Knowing Our Enemy, Strengthening Ourselves

Unconquerable Nation: Knowing Our Enemy, Strengthening Ourselves

Brian Michael Jenkins
Copyright Date: 2006
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 255
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7249/mg454rc
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  • Book Info
    Unconquerable Nation: Knowing Our Enemy, Strengthening Ourselves
    Book Description:

    The author presents a clear-sighted and sobering analysis of where we are today in the struggle against terrorism. Jenkins, an internationally renowned authority on terrorism, distills the jihadists• operational code and outlines a pragmatic but principled approach to defeating the terrorist enterprise. We need to build upon our traditions of determination and self-reliance, he argues, and above all, preserve our commitment to American values.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-4109-8
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Foreword
    (pp. v-viii)
    James A. Thomson

    In this book, Brian Michael Jenkins draws on 40 years of research on terrorism, most of it conducted at the RAND Corporation. He has played numerous leadership roles at RAND over those years and is today my senior advisor. But his most enduring contributions have been the fruits of his research efforts.

    In Brian’s early days at RAND in the 1960s, he focused on the insurgencies in Vietnam and Cambodia, on Vietnamese military institutions, and on the styles and techniques of conflict.

    In the late 1960s, Brian began drawing parallels between the rise of urbanization in the war in Vietnam...

  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  5. CHAPTER ONE How We Prevail
    (pp. 1-20)

    Secret Service agents gunned down the first team of assassins before they got to the President, but it was a close call. A second team of gunmen managed to get into the House of Representatives, where they wounded five congressmen. A terrorist bomb caused damage but no casualties at the Senate. Troops took up positions at the Capitol and the White House, both of which had been set ablaze. By sundown, Washington was sliding out of control; columns of black smoke could be seen for miles. Authorities were unable to save the White House, which was completely destroyed by fire....

  6. CHAPTER TWO An Appreciation of the Situation
    (pp. 21-52)

    In mid-2006, nearly five years after 9/11, how is America doing in the global war on terror? The question itself reflects the typically American desire to keep score, to measure progress. Fighting in World War II provided visible mileposts—the invasion of North Africa, the march through Italy, the return to the Philippines, the landing at Normandy, the liberation of Paris, the fall of Berlin, VE Day, VJ Day. It was a bloodier contest, but one in which we knew where we were going.

    The Cold War that followed lasted decades, and the current contest could easily do the same....

  7. CHAPTER THREE Knowing Our Enemy
    (pp. 53-110)

    Action films rarely inquire into the mindsets or motives of villains. The villains are simply presented as bad guys, foils for superheroes. Cyclops is always a monster. Dragons breathe fire. Witches are wicked. One need not ask why.

    We are likewise inclined to see terrorists as fiends, wild-eyed expressions of evil, diabolical but two-dimensional, somehow alien—in a word, inhuman. Government officials routinely denounce terrorists as mindless fanatics, savage barbarians, or, more recently, “evildoers”—words that dismiss any intellectual content. The angry rhetoric may resonate with apprehensive homeland audiences, but it impedes efforts to understand the enemy. We cannot formulate...

  8. CHAPTER FOUR A Sharper Sword: Strategic Principles for Defeating Today’s Enemy
    (pp. 111-144)

    American actions after September 11, 2001, were a response to a catastrophic attack without precedent in the annals of terrorism. Immediate action was required to prevent further attacks. There was no time for lengthy planning. Action and strategy evolved concurrently, which is not unusual in war. It was no different in World War II, when well into the fighting, the allies were still formulating their grand strategy.

    America’s strategy in response to 9/11 was initially sketched out in a series of speeches by President Bush and was later elaborated in a number of official documents. On September 20, 2001, the...

  9. CHAPTER FIVE A Durable Shield: Strategies for Strengthening Ourselves
    (pp. 145-178)

    Are we safer now? Since 9/11, it has, not surprisingly, become Americans’ most frequently asked question. On that date, the United States suffered its most violent day since the major battles of the Civil War, worse than Pearl Harbor, worse than D-Day, 18 times worse than the terrorist bombing in Oklahoma City. Americans had little experience with violence on this scale. Security became our paramount concern.

    But securing the homeland requires more than proliferating bollards and barriers. It requires strengthening ourselves, and that requires acceptance that the world has changed. Wide oceans no longer provide protection. Distance means little today....

  10. APPENDIX A Chronology of Selected Jihadist Attacks Since September 11, 2001
    (pp. 179-184)
  11. APPENDIX B Failed Terrorist Plots: What Were They Thinking About Doing?
    (pp. 185-192)
  12. Combating Terrorism: A Reading List
    (pp. 193-214)
  13. Notes
    (pp. 215-222)
  14. Index
    (pp. 223-234)
  15. About the Author
    (pp. 235-236)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 237-238)